Susan Viamari

Vice President, Thought Leadership, IRI
Recognized industry thought leader who regularly leads dialogues on timely and compelling CPG issues.

Specialties: CPG and Retail Analytics; Consumer Decision-Making Process and Shopper Behavior; Strategic Marketing and Planning; Merchandising and Pricing Strategies; Evolution of National and Store Brand Products
  • Posted on: 09/21/2018

    Would you believe older men with lower incomes are the new drivers of online sales growth?

    I don’t think there’s any demographic that is immune to the convenience, money-saving and novelty that e-commerce can offer, so this isn’t all that surprising. It has just taken some shoppers longer to build trust than others. With that said, brands should focus on developing a strong brand story and use research and data to listen to their consumers – you should only focus on courting the newest e-commerce shoppers if it makes sense for your brand to do so, not just because they’re the latest consumer segment of interest.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2018

    Can Zippin zip past where Amazon Go is going?

    AmazonGo, Zippin and future "just walk out (JWO)" solutions will create exciting new opportunities for retailers, some obvious, some less so. JWO opens up more of the store layout for additional products, or allows for smaller footprint stores. It also allows retailers to assign staff to different, customer-oriented roles. On the less obvious side, JWO helps retailers understand how shoppers navigate the store without the deployment of expensive sensors. Retailers can see in what order shoppers have added items to their baskets and determine their shopper journey with that information. This enables them to leverage a whole new data set with which they can reorganize store layouts and planograms to improve sales and the shopper experience.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2018

    Will a new beauty concept help CVS pull shoppers from Sephora and Ulta?

    Personalized shopping experiences are hugely important to younger Millennial and Gen Z generations, so CVS’s BeautyIRL should certainly help attract younger consumers. However, how many consumers is hard to say, since CVS has a long way to go to catch up to the well-established product trial experiences and loyalty programs of Sephora and ULTA. As far as being in line with the brand’s increased emphasis on health, I would say yes because self-care and self-indulgence play a big role in overall wellness these days.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2018

    Will a bot soon be taking your order at the drive-thru?

    As a con, I imagine most people might get much more frustrated at a bot not understanding your request than they would if a person misunderstood it. If it were a widespread problem, your brand could suffer – I can just picture the social media jokes now. Although the tarnish could be only temporary if the technology is finessed.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2018

    Three reasons why Gen Z ignores your loyalty program

    Research has shown that the digitally-minded Gen Z wants brand authenticity, personalized products and advertising, and to be part of the feedback loop in developing these products and campaigns. Loyalty programs will have a greater chance of succeeding with Gen Z if the programs and rewards are tailored to shoppers’ preferences, buying habits and budgets. Social listening and creating a digital community are strategies that can help open the feedback loop and create an authentic experience.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2018

    Amazon delivers latest Prime perk to Whole Foods’ curb

    Whole Foods shoppers are largely motivated by quality, and Prime members are largely motivated by convenience. If Amazon and Whole Foods can find a sweet spot that integrates the two and price it right, they will grow a broader shopper base. Like many have commented here, traditional offline stores are racing to catch up to e-tailers, and e-tailers are racing to catch up in brick and mortar. As a consumer, it’s a fun race to watch and reap the benefits of convenience, personalization and savings.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2018

    Kroger Ship to take on Amazon’s Prime Pantry

    Kroger Ship won’t necessarily redefine the customer experience, but will simply be one more way that Kroger continues to demonstrate value for its customers. Online and offline retail must be reciprocal to meet consumer expectations and be successful. Kroger is already doing well in brick-and-mortar, and they are taking calculated, incremental steps to beef up both online and offline shopping experiences, while still managing to scale quickly. Many retailers are discovering the complexities of offering home delivery profitably or at least with minimal losses. This is the "last mile" issue that occurs in many industries. However, shoppers want home delivery and it has the potential to be a differentiator; the ones who figure out how to do it profitably and efficiently will win.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2018

    Kellogg urges retailers to cater to ‘brick & order’ shoppers

    Content is a huge opportunity for grocers to differentiate online and brick & order offerings. E-commerce is certainly less tactile than brick and mortar, but far more expansive in terms of content offerings. Online, retailers and marketers have more than package labels and store signage to introduce new occasions for product usage (new recipes) and benefit-centric marketing messages (very important to today’s educated consumers). Of course, data and technology should be used to integrate offline and online data to personalize brick & order experiences. Retailers can also use this data to drive spontaneity and impulse purchases throughout the selection and checkout process. Whether your goal is to create a memorable experience or a simplified one, retailers should ultimately use every tool in their box to make e-commerce and brick & order experiences seamless and more convenient options.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2018

    Will Kroger’s new app make customers healthier than those who shop at rivals?

    Thanks for your perspectives. Certainly appreciated. Intrusion is certainly not going to have a positive impact. However, research has shown that consumers don't mind and even participate in exchanges that add value to their shopping journey. By providing highly targeted and relevant knowledge and information, retailers and brands become partners in the journey, rather than an intrusion or annoyance.
  • Posted on: 07/18/2018

    Will Kroger’s new app make customers healthier than those who shop at rivals?

    Even though an estimated 95 percent of CPG purchases are still made in brick-and-mortar outlets, digital interactions are influencing 77 percent of retail decisions. Kroger's app, which also happens to key in on a hugely popular consumer trend--self-care/wellness, is an excellent example of brick-and-mortar stores bridging the online and offline world, and we will increasingly see programs that drive connections between the online and offline worlds. These programs will help consumers by providing knowledge and convenience, but they will also help retailers by increasing touchpoints and providing opportunities for influential messaging.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2018

    Hershey figures out what drives impulse purchases in stores

    Delight is a critical element for marketers to understand and deliver against! Consumers want products that delight, but they also want in-store experiences that delight. What does that mean? It means retailers need to invest to understand what their shoppers are looking for in terms of attributes, packaging, price versus value, placement -- those magic four Ps of marketing! Identifying the goals and the metrics that help attain those goals is critical. With the organization focused on common goals and common metrics, the atmosphere becomes an enabling one, eliminating silo thinking and marketing-versus-sales friction. A cross-functional focus on defined metrics arises, directing every arm of an organization to the same place -- success and growth. Well thought-out, strategic metrics will deliver a set of in-store principles that help create better playbooks and execution roadmaps, and they will create execution collaboration.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2018

    Amazon lowballs CVS and Walgreens on OTC med prices

    While price is certainly an important consideration for consumers, brick-and-mortar players definitely have the upper hand in immediacy and personal relationships. Pharmacists are increasingly expert advisors in the journey to health, and this is a unique value proposition for brick-and-mortar retailers that they must continue to elevate. Many of the long-standing store brands also have strong brand equities -- consumers know what they are looking for and they know what they will get. With newer brands, that confidence is just not as strong. Certainly, Amazon is well-positioned in the marketplace and has demonstrated fantastic momentum. But the brick-and-mortar retailers are certainly not down for the count.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2018

    Survey finds marketers struggle to deliver personalized content

    Traditional business practices can limit the scope of personalization efforts and often won’t allow a holistic approach to understanding consumers and marketing to them. And they don’t consider enough what the modern retail landscape and consumers really look like. But technology is evolving at the speed of light, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, which are the next evolution in how we interact in the digital world. These tools offer new ways to attract and retain consumers. Perhaps the most challenging obstacle for marketers is the reams of disparate — and often discordant — data swarming and always growing throughout the marketplace. There is a need for real-time access to fully integrated — and harmonized — data. While this has been prohibitively expensive and time-consuming in the past, this is no longer the case. These harmonized data sets alleviate the need for manual efforts and they significantly increase speed to insights. Further, integrated data provide a more efficient link between market demand and actual market behavior, keeping users aligned against category-focused/customer-first efforts.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2018

    Past browsing does not indicate future purchase

    The time consumers spend online provides valuable opportunities to engage and influence, even for off-line purchases. But consumers don't engage in ads that are irrelevant. Sure, browsing is a good indicator of purchase intent, but past purchase behavior is even better. The key, of course, is understanding the buy cycle. If you purchased a garbage can last night, you are very unlikely to purchase one today (or tomorrow). Marketers need to understand the purchase cycle for their products and use contextually relevant ads--that means timing, along with messaging and a value proposition, to really be impactful. Personalized, purchase-based targeting—ensuring that the right message reaches the right consumer at the right time and place—has shown to increase ROAS by 20 percent and enhance lift threefold.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2018

    Kroger walks away from Raleigh-Durham

    Winning in any market is about being in the right place at the right time and with the right product assortment. Retailers must focus their resources by being in the best places to reach their highest-value customers. Focusing on quality (best fit for the market) of store locations is much wiser -- and more effective -- than focusing on quantity of locations.

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